Athif: Maldives will not go bankrupt for as long as it has tourism

Ibrahim Athif Shakoor: Former Head of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA). (File Photo)

I don’t’ believe the Maldivian economy is at risk of bankruptcy for as long its tourism sector remains strong, states former head of central bank’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) and economist, Athif Shakoor.

Athif’s remark comes follows recent comments by Parliament speaker, former president Mohamed Nasheed during the parliamentary debate on the 2023 state budget.

During a sitting earlier this week, Nasheed said the Maldives was in the brink of bankruptcy, and did not have enough in its reserves to cover essential imports in the coming weeks and months.

Nasheed’s comments sparked immediate pushback from the Maldivian administration, which said his claims were politically motivated, as the differences between him and President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih continue to grow.

Athif told Sun that bankruptcy isn’t a likely possibility given the resources Maldives is blessed with.

“Because of the largeness, the depth, the vastness and the richness of the blessings Almighty Allah has blessed upon us. If our tourism sector continues to grow like this, if our marine resources remain like this, I don’t believe Maldives will reach that point, though we may face hard times like these,” he said.

Athif said he believes the government and other stakeholders will take corrective measures if and when Maldives nears bankruptcy.

“I don’t believe Maldives will reach that point if tourism remains strong,” he said.

Athif expressed confidence in Finance Minister Ibrahim Ameer, and said he would pull Maldives away from the path to bankruptcy.

Nasheed’s comments earlier this week had drawn criticism from Ameer, who said the government had nothing to hide.

Ameer said that Maldives had emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic as one of the fastest rebounding economies.

“We have always been saying that difficulties and challenges continue to exist. We aren’t trying to hide it. All the statistics are there for all to see,” he said.

Ameer said the government was taking measures manage various challenges, including those posed by the Russia-Ukraine war.

“By the Grace of Allah, the future of the Maldivian economy is prosperous,” he said.